Thursday, 31 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Piss-taking potential aside, its' yet another example of OMMs' modular approach to carrying stuff. I like it a lot. Regular readers may have noticed various bottles turning up in photies and a complete lack of tubes sprouting from packs.
I dallied with hydration systems a while back and never really got on with them. All that drinking-on-the-go stuff wasn't for me. I like to stop, have a few sips and have a look aboot. And it's an excuse to get my breath back, if I'm being honest :o)
Anyway, nobody's gonnae convince me that a plastic bag and some tubing is cooler-looking than a Black Sigg Oval.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
"Shipping out to where, Sarge?"
"New Mombasa? But......that's on Earth."
"That's right, kid. Seems The Covenant have decided to pay a little visit and the folks back home want us to throw the welcome party. You in?"
"Boots on the ground in 36 hours. See you down there."
His mind races. First time out as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. A Helljumper. Was he ready? Only one way to find out; put his boots on the line and get ready to drop.
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Saturday, 29 August 2009
I had a PHD Yukon Pullover on the wish list but never got around to picking one up in the last sale. But, as luck would have it, I spotted something similar during an infrequent visit to OM. A quick bit of Googling and my mind was made up. Turns out the seller was the same guy that I'd bought the LIM 55 from, months ago. A couple of emails back and forth and a Nunatak Skaha Plus was mine.
It's a custom job with an extra 2oz of down and a tunnel handwarmer pocket. It is, quite simply, stunning. Packs down small but lofts like an absolute bastard while tipping the scales at 440g. Team it with the PHD Minim 500 and I've got a bitchin' winter sleep-system.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Saturday, 1 August 2009
It had been sent by Ed, one of the "Windy Boys" over on Outdoorsmagic. I'd dropped in there to enquire about something and it turned out that he had one spare. So, after a couple of emails and a monetary exchange, a new Bushbuddy Ultra was mine.
I'd been thinking about getting one for a while now but was spurred into action by The Boy's love (and mine) of an open flame. Even though campfires aren't prohibited up here, it's still a bit off-putting when you're confronted by "Thou shalt not set fire to stuff!" notices at the start of your walk. This seems like a guilt free compromise*.
All we need now is a dry day before the schools go back so we can get out somewhere.
*The folding fire-box/Trench Mortar was deemed "A bit shite" and consigned to the Oddities box.
Friday, 24 July 2009
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Oh awright then. I'll try.
It's a tremendously good bag. Seriously, I can't fault it. Everything goes in with room to spare. The big, stretchy outer pockets take bottles, and tents, with ease. The roll-top closure is a piece of piss to use and that wee lid pocket is a work of quiet genius.
I hardly noticed it on my back. I put it on at the car and took it off several miles later with no adjustment in between. The harness and hipbelt are probably about the best out of any pack I've used and that includes the OMM packs I'm always banging on about. (Note probably. I need a few more trips yet)
Speaking of which, the OMM Chest Pouch fits nae bother and that makes me very happy indeed. That, and the wee pockets on the LIM's hipbelt, means that pretty much everything's to hand.
It does look like a sack o' tatties but I can forgive it that. Oh, and according tae The Boy, it goes with my boots, the Nike Tallacs. Matching bag and shoes? Disnae get better than that :o)
Friday, 5 June 2009
Monday, 1 June 2009
Passing the Aktomobile at Inverey, we turned into the Linn o' Dee car park in no time at all. Packs on, it was a long, hot walk up to Derry Lodge but we passed the time talking about Geography no less :o)
There were a few folk about but we'd got the Ignorant Bastards out the way less than 10 minutes from the car park and everybody else was all happy and smiley.
I counted 11 tents dotted about the lodge but our pitch from last year was free so we bagged it again.
Tea, brews, banter and a wander up to the wee metal bridge followed. We hung about there for a bit and then walked back down on the opposite side of the river, spotting a deer, the only one we saw the whole trip.
It was all very relaxing until The Boy turned his ankle less than 20 feet from the tents. A short period of parental panic followed. I was running thru' various scenarios including how to explain to the MRT why it was that my child was wearing glorified trainers out here in the wilderness. Happily, a platy of cold water wrapped round it seemed to work and the swelling wisnae too bad.
We turned in late and slept late. No rush. Breakfast was taken on the riverbank, in warm sunshine. Magic :o)
The walk back was a tad on the hot side to say the least but it was enjoyable in a slightly masochistic way. Sad to say, it was way too hot for me to even consider a burger from The Hungry Highlander but a can of cold Irn Bru and some of The Boy's Chips'n'cheese hit the spot.
We were home less than 2 hours later and my beloved, bless her, had organised a wee barbie for our homecoming. What a crackin' weekend :o)
Friday, 29 May 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
Saturday, 16 May 2009
The crackle of small arms fire carries on the breeze but he hears a different song, an ancient one, of times long since past. "Good times".
Reaching down, he pulls the turret gun from its' mount. "Time to go to work".
Jumping down, he stalks forward. The weight of the gun slows him but there's no rush, he's savouring the moment. A pencil-thin beam flickers across his chest. He ducks behind a low rise as the full charge of the Spartan Laser blasts a shallow crater in the earth. "Missed, ya fucker".
Moving from cover, he closes in. The big gun's triple barrel's stutter and become a roar as they spin up to full speed. The enemy begin to fall in ones and two's.
He's grinning now. This is why he comes here. This is who he is. As he falls upon them, his battle cry causes all to fall briefly silent; "'moan then, ya fannies!!!!"
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Saturday, 2 May 2009
The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed the lack of activity here over the last month. Nothing sinister, simply taking a wee break from the Web outside of work hours. Not a complete break, just a lessening of online time.
Business as usual in the real world with the recent arrival of some new "shinies". My self-imposed "Sell something to buy something" rule is working well. It's all gone a bit Swap Shop here. It's keeping the gear mountain in check at any rate.
Nothing terribly exciting, a 1 Litre Nalgene HDPE Bottle, waste water for the disposal of. Handy for all sorts of occasions.
Spurred on by the success of the SL2 and favourable reviews over at ptc's, a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 plus footprint. I'd been swithering for the best part of a year but, now that I've seen it in the flesh so to speak, I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. The Boy and me are heading out in the next couple of weeks so I'll be taking this instead of the Laserlite.
There's a Haglofs LIM 55 and a Snow Peak Mini Solo cookset there that'll be coming along for the ride.We're looking forward to it :o)
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Nails. Titanium nails. 6 of them. And 6 of the more traditional "shepherds crook" type pegs. That's what arrived this week by way of those nice people at ultralightoutdoorgear. I reckon I'm now good to go for pitching on anything up to, and including, concrete.
While I was shopping for pegs, I picked up another OMM Duomat. The one I've already got makes a fine sit-mat or, opened out, a loafing-mat. I used it under my Thermarest "three quarters" last time out as a wee bit of extra insulation from the ground, Two will be handy for those times I use a full length mat.
All 3 of my OMM bags are designed with carrying an extra Duo in mind so it'll be interesting to actually try it. Both fit neatly in the Jirishanca and there's no significant loss of available volume. I'll try it with the other 2 when I get a minute.I can imagine getting away with using just the Duo's on their own somewhere soft and grassy but I seriously doubt I'm hardcore enough to do it anywhere else :o)
Sunday, 29 March 2009
It's a difficult thing, finding boots that fit. Like many others, I have one "odd" foot. I think it's the left one but it could be the right. One of them's a bit out of kilter with the other at any rate. So I'm well used to playing around with the fit;adjusting laces, one sock or two and so on.
The 390's need very little in the way of adjustment and that's a minor miracle in itself. I've been wearing them at work over the last week and they've been fine. At times, I forgot I was wearing them and that's always a good sign.
I've got high hopes for these over the coming months but I'll reserve judgement until I've put some serious miles on them. Anyway, Chris Townsend likes them so they can't be that bad :o)
Saturday, 28 March 2009
It was Chris Townsend's idea. I was reading TGO one day and he'd done a test on windproofs. They were, and I'm paraphrasing here, "One of the most useful & versatile items you can carry". That caught my attention and, the very next Saturday, I was off up to Summits to see what they had.
CT had recommended the Karrimor Vector Run and so that was the one I had to have. I couldn't see it on the racks. "Looking for anything in particular?" said Andy from behind the counter. "Karrimor Vector Run", says I. "What size?" says he. "Large, I think". "Two ticks", and off he went up the back stairs. After a bit of thumping from above, he trots back down bearing a tiny package. I was beaming. He even knocked a tenner off on account of me being a regular.
From L to R, Karrimor Vector, Paramo Fuera, Rab Quantum Windshhirt
I took it out the next day. And every other hill day for years after. That wee blue bundle's been over more hills than I can count. A constant companion no less. Even though others have come along since, it's never been fully put away. That flash of blue is there every time the door to the gear cupboard opens. It was however, put away dirty. There's still evidence of its' last outing. Some TLC is in order. And maybe a wee re-living of the old times when I was a full-on Hill Monster and not the procrastinating, any-excuse-to-stay-home lazy bastard I've turned into.
I knew I'd forgotten something but I couldn't think what. It came to me when I was looking for something, down in the depths of my inane ramblings; my wee blog is 2. And a bit.
I was close with that last post but it slipped past, unnoticed, like a midget submarine in a Norwegian Fjord.Never mind. Better late than never, that's what I say.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Nothing starts a Tuesday off like a wee trip to the Sorting Office. And when the package carries the mark of the US Postal Service the joy is palpable. Big packages or small, it's all good.
I don't buy from The States very often but when the stuff you seek can't be found here then it's over The Pond we go.
The contents were eagerly anticipated. The substance therein, my own personal Opium.
I tested a sample when I got to work. Pure, Grade A Caffiene. This stuff's the shit, man.
It kicks the arse of that Nescafe pish that I took with me last time out. I'm popping a few packets in the grub bag and then I'm away to check the MWIS.Credit to John Manning & Darren for the enlightenment. Bless you.
Update : It occurred to me that, apart from a photie and a brief mention in the comments, folk might not know what the hell I'm talking about. It is, of course, Java Juice. And I should also point out that they're rubbish at answering emails. Rubbish in the sense that they don't. At all.
Sunday, 1 March 2009
So, I'd been thinking of some kind of water-resistant cover. The Rab Survival Zone is a bit OTT so when I saw the Moonlite I thought, "That's the boy for me".*
First impressions: It's light. Very light for what it is and packs up small, much smaller than the SZ. And it's simple, just a drawcord at the top that pulls the "hood" in nice & snug. There's enough room to let my Rab Quantum bag loft fully and it's long enough for me at 6'4".
Moonlite (Top) vs Survival Zone (Bottom)
So, looking good then. All I need to do now is make the time to get some serious Zeds in it.
*Credit to Matt by way of ptc's place for bringing it to my, and others, attention.
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Back to Pitlochry for some much-needed downtime. We ate well, mooched around the local gear shop (where I managed to not buy a Haglofs LIM Down Vest. Yaaay for me!!!) and then ate some more. It was braw.
We took a wander up to the wee loch at the top of the hill, just up from the hotel. The ducks were still there; they looked sad. The loch was all froze and everything. We went back this morning with some toast, snaffled from our breakfast and shared it out. That seemed to make them happy. We resolved to stock up on duck food before our next visit.
It's no' easy being a duck.
Vrackie looking all snowy and rugged.
I nearly went home empty-handed but saw the light just in time and popped back into Escape Route for another wee nosey. The brightly coloured Optimus display had caught my eye yesterday so it would've been rude not to at least buy something.
Then, just to satisfy my curiosity like, I tried on a Rab VR Trail Stretch Top. I'd never worn one before and wondered about the fit. Glove-like, was the answer. The sleeves are nice and long too. And its' price reduced to not-very-much-at-all. It was all a no-brainer really.
Naturally enough, we also brought home a MacDonald's Steak Pie, so that's tea sorted.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
There's some cold weather on the way. It is, according to the Beeb, coming all the way from Russia. Nobody's mentioned where in Russia but you can tell they're thinking Siberia. Maybe they don't want to panic the population just yet?
Such weather has of course never happened before. England and Wales are to be the worst affected with accumulations of up to 10 cm expected. 10 CMS!!!! The Welsh will be OK. Their thick skins, developed over the years as protection from the endless slagging by their neighbours, will save them. Our English cousins however, are fucked.I can't bear to watch so I'll be sticking to the more obscure satellite channels until the glaciers retreat. Probably Thursday. Friday latest.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Sunday, 11 January 2009
We sat in the Little Chef and considered our options; we could press on and risk catastrophic car failure in the middle of God knows where, call out recovery and go home or phone a garage and try and get it fixed.
These options were further limited by the fact that this was after lunchtime on Hogmanay and most of Scotland was effectively shut.
Praise be then to the wonderful folk who live up that way. Crissy the waitress offered to call out her man who was a mechanic & the manager of the LC gave us the numbers of a couple of local garages.
Charlie of Heathercroft Motor Engineers came to the rescue. He took the car for a quick spin and came back looking rather sad. It was, he said, "sick" and advised us to go no further. He could take us on to our destination but couldn't promise that the insurance company would pay to get us all the way home again, or he could just take us home.
Perhaps prompted by our sad wee faces, he then suggested a hire car. The place was shut but he knew the owner and might be able to persuade them to lend us something. It wasn't a long phone call but but it felt like an age. There was a glimmer of hope; the lassie in charge lived across the road from the showroom and was willing to meet us there. So I hopped in the van and Charlie gave me a hurl doon the road to Fort William. Holly of Ben Nevis Motors turned up shortly after Charlie had dropped me off and headed off to rescue some other poor unfortunate.
A quick DVLA check, a cash transaction and I had the keys to a shiny Ford Focus. Result! Back to Spean Bridge to pick up The Future Mrs D & The Boy and we were back on the road. 90 minutes later, and about 4 hours after we'd hoped to be there, we pulled up ootside our wee home for the next 4 days. It was awfy stressful and more than a tad expensive but ultimately worth it and everybody had a grand time.
Let's hear it for the nice folk who go that extra yard when they really don't have to.